Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, commenting on the cuts to the Coastguard Services, said:
"The scale of these cuts raises real concerns about safety around our coastline, with plans for only three of the surviving stations to operate around the clock. There are real fears about the ability of such a reduced service to respond to incidents in good time and the loss of local knowledge can only hinder search and rescue operations.
“The Government must now come clean on the estimates they must have made of the increased length of time to reach maritime incidents as a result of these closures; the impact of the loss of localised knowledge on the effectiveness of rescue operations; the number of jobs that will be lost in the service and the wider economic impact on local communities after bases close and when the closures will take place.”
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, said:
“We respect the announcement that the Government is delaying the decision and hope that this will be an opportunity to consider an alternative way forward. People will find it hard to understand why, at a time of rising unemployment, the Government wishes to proceed with the £7 billion, 25 year PFI that will create jobs in the United States, at a cost to Government seven times greater than the cost of the scrapped Harrier fleet, which flew for the last time yesterday.
“We have argued that, in light of the Government's fiscal approach that has seen decisions to make large scale cuts in the Armed Forces and to other programmes, it would be better to explore with industry and others how we might secure a better value-for-money alternative that maintains this vital capability in the future. We hope the Government will be open about the details of alternative bids they have received.
“We would like to be informed, as appropriate, about the issue behind today’s delay and whether there will be a cost to the MoD as a result.”